Labour continues to hold a small lead over the Conservatives as the nation entered the Christmas holidays. There is evidence of some voter movement towards UKIP which indicates that their true national level is around 4% or 5% and their General Election performance was distorted by so many of their candidates standing down.
Chart G1 shows the Conservatives have slipped back since the 2017 election and Labour now has a lead of 1% in Great Britain. The most striking thing about G1 is the quite extraordinary recovery in the Labour vote from mid-April 2017 when the election was called. Understanding why this happened is key to making sense of the 2017 election and what is likely to happen next. I have to say that from what I have read from political commentators, no-one has yet made sense of this dramatic surge. For myself, I keep coming back to a comment I made to my wife (who is American) that the election was starting to remind me of the Democrats primary battle in 2016 between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and I do feel that the two elections share a similar dynamic.
Despite dropping back, the Conservatives are still well placed when compared to previous elections. The difference is that we are now back to 2-party politics last seen in 1979 as shown by chart G3. It would appear from chart G2 that most of the movement away from the Conservatives has been towards UKIP. This does make sense in that UKIP did not stand in many seats in the 2017 election and as a result their vote share would have been artificially depressed. The Greens did a similar thing to UKIP but they have not seen a rebound in their vote which suggests that Green defectors in the electors are remaining loyal to Labour.
Voter Switching Patterns
I will update this section with my usual slides in a later post but for now, please take a look at my November post where I put forward some thoughts on voter dynamics since Theresa May became Prime Minister.
Brexit Vote Dynamics
I will update this section in a later post.
Following the 2017 general election, I analysed why my forecast was in error by such a large margin. I was able to show that the key error was that the opinion polls were not uniform in their underestimate of the Labour vote. In the South and Scotland, the polls were broadly in line with the final results and my forecast was not that far out. However, in the North & Midlands the error was considerable which had a dramatic effect on my forecast.
Given this error, it will be a while before I decide to update this section.
The 2017 General Election saw the elimination of class as a predictor of voting intentions but age become a more distinct differentiator between the parties. I will keep an eye on demographics in the polls and at some point I will update this section. I will also make an estimate of how national shares would be different if 16 & 17 year olds were entitled to vote.